NRL Power Rankings: Round 6 – Dragons, Raiders prove doubters wrong, Souths players still putting in for Demetriou


Six rounds into the season and only a small group of teams would be entirely satisfied with their form. 

With the Rabbitohs sinking to the bottom and the Knights struggling big time, the ladder is in an ongoing state of flux.

The door is opening for teams who were given little chance of making the finals heading into the season to prove their doubters wrong.

Canberra are a surprise third with a 4-2 record after putting the Titans away on Sunday night while the Dragons are showing plenty of steel to be 3-3 despite being considered wooden spoon contenders in the pre-season.

St George Illawarra’s win over the Wests Tigers on Sunday was encouraging but they still need to show a lot more consistency to be considered any chance of rising into the top-eight equation over the course of a 27-round season.

Even though they lost on Saturday night to the Sharks, it’s clear the South Sydney players are still putting in for coach Jason Demetriou even though some members of the board might be putting something else in, right between his shoulderblades.

Team by team, here’s how the Power Rankings stack up after Round 6.

1 Panthers (last week 1): They might not get Nathan Cleary back from his hamstring tear this Saturday against the Wests Tigers in Bathurst but there is no point rushing him back.

Jarome Luai’s knee is OK while Scott Sorensen’s return strengthens an already powerful pack. 

2 Storm (2): They are making a habit of winning ugly – they ran down the Broncos the previous round and even though they were far from their best against the Bulldogs on Friday night, Melbourne conjured up a late rally to claim the victory.

As they’ve done during the Big Three peak of the Craig Bellamy era and whenever they have been told they are going to go backwards, the Storm quietly accumulate the Ws during the regular season and all of a sudden you look up and they’re 4-1 and sharing top spot on the competition table.

(Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

3 Broncos (3): There was a sense of a fait accompli after Brisbane weathered the early storm in their derby against the depleted Dolphins.

You wouldn’t say the gamble on bringing Reece Walsh back early with the headgear protecting his facial fracture was a success – they probably would have won even if he wasn’t back – but at least he got through the game unscathed. 

4 Sea Eagles (4): They can count themselves unlucky to only come back from Auckland with one competition point – the late penalty for contact on Shaun Johnson was incidental at the most. 

Haumole Olakau’atu is starting to hit top gear on the edge and now that the club has told Josh Schuster to ship out after he didn’t shape up, they can put that distraction to the side. Now comes the small matter of settling the bill – unfortunately for Manly, they will need to pay a hefty portion of the remainder of Schuster’s deal because no club is going to be forking out $800,000 a season for him based on recent form.

5 Warriors (5): They are still a slight step behind the likes of Penrith, Melbourne and Brisbane when it comes to the premiership pecking order. 

The Warriors have been up for the contest every week this season and no one will be too unhappy with a 3-1-2 record after six rounds but they still need to find that extra gear to pierce the upper echelon of title contenders.

6 Roosters (7): That was a typical Trent Robinson-coached team performance in Newcastle on Thursday night. He loves it when his side is written off and even though Dom Young, James Tedesco and Sam Walker were sidelined, the Roosters rarely looked like losing. 

There is no way Joey Manu will ever be installed as fullback while Tedesco is under contract at the Tricolours but he proved yet again against the Knights that he is at his best when he is in the No.1 jersey. If he does end up in rugby union, he could be one of the few recent league converts to make a successful transition such is his natural instinct with the ball in hand.

7 Sharks (6): They won but they drop a spot? If you watched them play Souths you will know why. 

The Rabbitohs were down on players before the game, lost three more during the match and only just lost. 

Cronulla did enough to get by and a few flashes of brilliance from Ronaldo Mulitalo on the left wing ultimately proved the difference. Not sure if this sentence has ever been written but Ronaldo is quite the footballer.

8 Raiders (10): There comes a time when you’ve got to give the Green Machine their due credit. Yes, it was only the Titans who came to town on Sunday night but Canberra got the job done, eventually, to continue their surprising start to 2024.

They are trailing only the Sharks and Storm on the ladder and with James Schiller, Ethan Strange and now Chevy Stewart cutting their teeth at NRL level, the Raiders are regenerating their ageing squad without racking up the losses. 

9 Eels (11): After a tight loss to the Tigers and a capitulation in Canberra, it was time for the Eels to show they are not a one-man team that cannot function without Mitchell Moses. 

The Cowboys were pretty ordinary on Saturday night and it’s premature to say Parra are going to be fine while their star half is sidelined for a couple of months but the seven-point upset was, in the words of Salt & Pepa, very necessary.

Reece Robson is tackled. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

10 Cowboys (8): They remain in the top four but unless Scott Drinkwater can spark something from the backfield, they don’t seem to have too many attacking options.

Tom Dearden is always busy and Chad Townsend is a calm game manager but this team needs a dash of X factor. 

11 Dolphins (9): Hopefully there are plenty more fish in the sea because many Dolphins are sinking without a trace.

With Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow and Felise Kaufusi hamstrung, Anthony Milford set to be suspended, Kurt Donoghoe already banned, five-eighth Kodi Nikorima hobbled with a calf injury, Herbie Farnworth out for a month with a bung shoulder, Tom Flegler (shoulder) and Connelly Lemuelu (knee) also out, it’s all hands on deck at Redcliffe. 

12 Dragons (16): As expected, St George Illawarra did what very few people expected and produced a strong performance on Sunday after putting in a stinker the previous round. 

Kyle Flanagan is a much better player than he has shown the past few years at Canterbury and he was a scapegoat prior to that at the Roosters – his halves combination with Ben Hunt is quickly becoming one of the better ones in the NRL.

Zac Lomax scores the first try. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

13 Knights (12): They will tell you they’re not a one-man team … but they are.

Their entire attack starts and ends with Kalyn Ponga and when he is hampered like he was on Thursday night by his hip injury, the Knights fire blanks.

14 Wests Tigers (13): They are a curious mix of veterans and newbies with not too many players in the middle of their careers.

Some of the young players are prone to make mistakes which you expect but David Klemmer has shown little improvement in his ability to rein in his aggression in more than a decade in the NRL.

He was lucky to stay on the field for his first high shot against the Dragons but that didn’t stop him from laying out another opponent, and then wanting to punch on afterwards. 

Even though he only got a light wrap on the knuckles on the field, the match review committee should give him a few weeks to think about his actions. And even if they do, he won’t.

15 Bulldogs (14): They continue to show the outline of a competitive team and were a trifle unlucky to get mowed down by the Storm in Melbourne. 

The Dogs need to get better at finishing off chances – they made eight line breaks, three more than the Storm, but only converted three of them into tries.

(Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

16 Rabbitohs (15): whatever happens with Jason Demetriou, and the writing still appears to be on the wall despite their gutsy loss to the Sharks, the front office at Souths should have a long hard look at themselves in the mirror. 

They should perhaps change their name to Sieve Sydney because there have been that many leaks coming out of the club. 

17 Titans (17): According to The Roar’s NRL correspondent from Aurora, Illinois, Wayne Campbell, watching the Titans vs Raiders game on Sunday is a penalty for shoplifting in some countries.

It wasn’t what you would call a high-quality contest but the last-minute try and sideline conversion which sent the match into extra time meant it wasn’t a total write-off. 

Silver Coast rolled up their sleeves in Canberra on Sunday night and weren’t a total embarrassment for once but they still came in second after the golden point heartbreaker. 

So at least that’s a small step in the right direction for Des Hasler’s squad.

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